Every Day

Our Menu Plan for the First Week of the Low Spend Grocery Month Challenge

We will be starting our low spend month challenge tomorrow. As you can see, I have my $250. ready to go for shopping this month. It is 1/2 of what I normally spend. For those who are new and don’t know, there is just Hubby and I in this household. Our children left and married a very long time ago and have their own families.

So to get ready for our low spend month, I looked at my inventory and menu planned yesterday for the next week.

We only eat two meals a day. We have breakfast, lunch, or brunch late morning. Then we have dinner between 5PM and 6PM. 

Most of the time we each fix our first meal ourselves. Sometimes we want the same thing and one of us cooks. Dinners, we both take turns cooking. 

We usually pick from this list for our first meal of the day:

Sandwiches: Chicken, tuna, BLT’s, or cold cuts 
                   Leftovers from dinner
                   Hamburgers or cheeseburgers
                   Hot Dogs
                   Pancakes or Waffles
                   French Toast

Here is our dinner plan starting tomorrow:

Sat. Homemade Pizza, salad
Sun. Shake n Bake Chicken,broccoli
Mon. Chef’s Salad
Tues. Spaghetti and Meatballs, garlic toast
Wedn. Leftovers
Thurs. Fish sticks, brussel sprouts 
Fri. Taco Salad made with ground turkey 

We rarely have dessert. Once in a while I will make SF jello or pudding or we have a little ice cream.

We drink iced tea or water with our meals. Sometimes if it is a special dinner like steak or lamb chops, we will have a glass of wine.

In the summer, I try to make simple meals. I cook them the cheapest way I can to save on my utility bill. For example, sometimes I cook pizza in the toaster oven if is a frozen circular one. My homemade one is rectangular and goes in the oven. The shake n bake chicken will get cooked in the air fryer. 

I have a bag of leftover broccoli in the freezer that I want to get rid of so that will be cooked in the microwave. The same for the brussel sprouts.

I make my own garlic toast out of leftover hamburger buns and bake that in the toaster oven. 

The spaghetti sauce and meatballs will be cooked in the microwave. The spaghetti is leftover from another meal and is in the freezer. It will be warmed up quickly in a skillet. I cook cauliflower rice for me in the microwave. 

I will tell you a secret. I hate fish sticks. Hubby loves them. They are leftover from the week that I was in the eastern part of the state. So I will eat them this week because I want to get rid of them. Yuck! 

We always have leftovers hanging around so we always have a leftover night or two.

I cook the taco meat on the brown cycle in my pressure cooker and season it too. 

We have everything that we need for this week’s meal plan in the fridge, freezer and pantry. So if I shop this week it will only be to pick up an exceptionally priced item that I can incorporate into a future meal plan. I may need produce also for the next week. So I don’t plan on spending much of that $250. next week.         

Every Day

The Last Few Grocery Items I Had to Get This Week

I told you on Monday that I had to go get a few more grocery items when I ran my other non-food errands. I did that in the next town over today. 

I have been waiting for the organic grass fed ground beef to go on sale at Aldi’s. This is the one we almost always buy. I was down to one package and we have ground beef almost every week. So I was very happy when I opened the Aldi flyer this week and saw it on sale for $ 17.96 for 4 lbs. or $ 4.49 a lb. It is 85/15.  I got 8 lbs. If I ration it, it should last 8-12 weeks. I also needed milk there.

Since I needed ice cream for West’s visit and for Hubby, I stopped at Dollar General to pickup 2 containers of Edy’s. The sale price was $3.00 each which is a great price for this favorite ice cream. 

So I spent an additional $ 43.37 this week.  

Every Day

August Will Be A Low Spend Month For Groceries

Over the years, I have seen many people have what they call a Low Spend Month. So I have decided to do one for the month of August. If anyone would like to join me, let me know in the comments. I realize some of you are probably working on your stockpile so keep doing what you are doing. Being prepared for the Fall and Winter is so important!

Those who would like to do the Low Spend Month should inventory your freezers, refrigerators, and your pantries so that you know what you have. You have a few days to do this before the 1st. However for those of you who feel it is a daunting task, just look through those areas so that you have a pretty good idea of what you have.

I still have money set aside for stockpiling. If I see a great deal that fits into my stockpile, I will let you know. But in August I will be concentrating on spending less monthly grocery money. 

Most of the time, I have $500. for a month’s worth of groceries. I will be cutting that amount by 50% for August. So I will have $250. for all of our groceries. Any money leftover in July will be put back into our savings.

We will be eating from our pantry which is our usual BUT with a twist. How many of you have a grocery item or two or maybe 10 or more that you purchased or were given that you have never used? You know the ones that you see in your pantries all the time and ignore. I know I do. They keep staring me in the face. Pictured above is just a few of the items that need to get used. The tuna and pancake mix will get used in the next week. I will have to see how to make the quinoa and I can’t even remember what I bought the xanthan gum for. Any ideas? 

In August, I will be incorporating those items into our meals to use them up and not end up throwing them out which throws your money in the garbage. If I don’t know how to use an item, I will research for a recipe or ask you. I am hoping to use up a whole bunch of “odd to me” stuff.

I will let you know every day what we are eating and post recipes when I can. 

I will take “you along” on every grocery trip so that you know what I am buying and why. Only needs or family requests(Hubby makes requests on a regular basis) will be purchased with only one exception!  The things that West wants while he is staying with us for two weeks will be incorporated into my $250. grocery budget. I have to spoil my grandson while he is here visiting. That is just what Grandma’s do.

I will post our menu for the following week starting on Friday.

So you may ask, “Why are you doing a no spend month?” Because I thought it would be fun! We also have a savings goal that we are working on. We gave away $ XX,XXX. this month so we will be working on replenishing that money over the next year or so. Lowering the grocery budget will be a good start. Who knows, I may find out that we don’t have to spend $500. per month and continue to be able to save that 50% of our grocery money. 

When you don’t have a mortgage, car payments, or credit card payments, money from investments accumulate quickly. So they will also help replace our giving money. At our age, we rarely travel anymore so we don’t do a lot of spending on items or travel like we did when we were younger. We spend very little on gasoline. Most our money goes into things we want or need for our home. Needed items like pest control, landscape maintenance, and fertilizing services, home maintenance, car maintenance, etc. And of course there are the normal bills that come with owning a home like utility bills, taxes, cable, house phone and internet, insurances, and the cellphone. Gifts for family members are also very important to us.

I am also hoping this low spend month will keep us home more because we have some projects that we are working on. I don’t know how long each post will be in August. Some may be long and some very short but I will post every day. The length will depend on the topic and how much time I have that particular day. I will also keep posting our Frugal Things topic. 

So if you would like to do this low spend month right along with me, don’t forget to let me know in the comments. You can post in comments on each day’s post to let us all know how and what you are doing to keep some money in your pocket.    
Every Day

I Am Practicing For Next Month

I am practicing this week for something I will be doing all next month. To do this I am watching every penny that I am spending this week.

Making a shopping list was a priority yesterday. Today I shopped at 4 stores. Don’t worry, I didn’t spend much gasoline running around. I get 19 miles per gallon with the SUV. I ran my errands in a circle so I drove a total of 11.6 miles round trip. My gasoline cost me $ 1.859 per gallon the last time I filled up. So my shopping trip cost me about $.84 in gasoline. I am pretty sure I saved that much money by shopping at 4 different stores.

First, I went to Niagara Produce which has the best freshness, quality and price on cold cuts in my area. Hubby has not had deli cold cuts since the illness hit. He asked for some this morning so I obliged. The ham was on sale for $ 5.99 a lb. and the turkey was $6.99 a lb. I only purchased about 1/2 lb. of each.

I also picked up some turkey breast cutlets that were $ 3.99 a lb. Chicken breasts are on sale at Top’s this week for $ 1.99 a lb. but we have so much chicken that I wanted something different. I got a loaf of rye bread because I will be cooking a corned beef( bought on sale last St. Patrick’s day) later this week and Hubby loves his reuben sandwiches.

Next stop was Dollar Tree. I had a $ .75/2 coupon that I was not going to waste.

Aldi’s was my next stop. I picked up two more packages of blueberries to freeze for pancakes and muffins. They were still at the great price of $ 1.69 each. Applesauce was on sale for $ 2.50 each at Top’s but I was pretty sure that it was cheaper at Aldi and I was right. Pistaschio’s are my guilty pleasure. They were still on sale for $ 5.99. We needed creamer and Hubby needed swiss cheese for his reubens.

The last stop was Top’s. Hubby was craving corn. They had them at 5 ears for $2.00. I don’t normally eat corn but it is a favorite and in season so I will have one with dinner tonight. I will be cooking 3 of them in the microwave for dinner.

Cheetos and the Poppables are for snacks in the stockpile. Bacon was a coupon item for $ 3.99. The lettuce was also a coupon item for $.99. Fresh green beans are $.69 a lb. I am soaking them in vinegar right now since who knows who touched them. Eggs were on sale for $.99 each. The 18 pack of Gatorade was on sale for $8.99 and you instantly got a Free 6 pack of Gatorade Juiced with it. It was a great deal especially since West will enjoy the Juiced when he comes to stay for two weeks soon.

My total for today was $ 58.48. It would have been much higher but I crossed 17 items off my list last night that were wants not needs this week. I do have to pick up a few more needed items later in the week on my way to run a non grocery errand.

I will be back tomorrow with a post about what I am going to do in August.

Did any of you get any good deals lately?
Every Day

This Week’s Grocery Haul

I have been so busy today with cleaning and cooking that I almost forgot to put up this week’s grocery haul. 

These are the prices I paid. As you can see I shopped at Aldi’s and spent $ 44.96 which came out of my July grocery budget.

Hubby was asking for blueberries which he loves in muffins and pancakes. This price of a $1.69 is the best I have seen. So I picked up two packages and froze them flat right away. When they were frozen, I transferred them to a freezer bag so that I can just take out what I need when I make these things for him.  

The broccoli, romaine and celery were needed for our meals this week. My lemon juice bottle is almost empty.

Hubby requested this Italian dressing so I got him a big bottle. I love the cheese wraps and I am so happy that my Aldi’s is carrying them now. So I picked one up. 

I have to admit that the roasting chicken sauce was an impulse buy. We will try it and then if we like it, I will try to make it from scratch. I also treated us to the Panino tray for quick snacks. Both Hubby and I like these. Usually, I make our own but I grabbed it anyhow.  

The half and half was needed for coffee. The tomato sauce will be added to my stockpile.

The pistachios are my favorite nut besides macadamias. But macadamias are not in season right now which makes them expensive. The pistachios were a great price of $ 5.99. These I snack on.

Lastly, the cherry pie filling will be subsidizing the pie cherries that Hubby picked from our tree. I wanted to make sure that I have enough to make pies for the holidays.  

The one thing that you see missing is meat that we cook with. The prices have risen so high here and the sales were non existent. So we ate meat, shrimp, and poultry out of our freezer this week. We used chicken legs, organic grass fed ground beef, filet mignon, and shrimp. Until I see a good deal or the prices come down, I am not buying meat or seafood.

Did any of you get any great buys this week? Please share with all of us.  Did you have any good meat deals this week?

Every Day

Frugal Things The Past Couple of Weeks

This July has been the one of hottest on record here. I think we had one day that wasn’t in the 80’s or 90’s. Because of that we have used more electricity to air condition our home and to run our dehumidifier in the basement to keep my pantry dry. So I cut back in other areas by not doing laundry as often, using cold water when I do wash, hanging clothes to dry, making sure that no lights were on in daylight, turning off computers when they are not being used, and watching very little television. Hubby has set our air conditioner for 75 instead of our normal 72. We saved on natural gas by not using the dishwasher and  washing dishes by hand with a minimal amount of hot water. We have an on demand tankless water heater so it is not as expensive as having a standard water heater.  I also did very little cooking with our gas stove. Most of our cooking has been on the grill or in the air fryer.

We have been watering our lawn every other day in the early morning when it is not as hot out. We have been using the sprinkler system timer. Finally, we had a soaking rain so we shouldn’t have to water for a few days.

I have been saving the shower warm up water to water our outdoor hanging baskets. 

We have received $8.00 in rebates and I submitted $ 17.00 in rebates for two bottles of liquor that Hubby wanted. He has been restocking our bar bottles. 

Our fan would not work in the master bathroom. Hubby traced it to the timer switch. I ordered a new one and paid for most of it with reward points. It came quickly and Hubby put it in. It is nice to have that fan back to get the moisture out of the bathroom after showers. 

Instead of watching television, I have been reading Behind The Green Mask:U.N. Agenda 21. What an eye opener that book is.

I have not had any shorts to wear all summer because of my weight loss. I have looked and looked for shorts that aren’t ripped or so short that I won’t wear them. It has been impossible to find ones I like. So I went to Running’s today in the hope that they might have a pair or two that I could use for the rest of the summer. It has been pretty hot wearing my jeans. They had none left. I will have to keep looking or go without until spring. If anyone who reads from Buffalo has seen shorts anywhere, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Our meals were all made at home from scratch with the exception of one weekend night, I made a frozen pizza.

My son and grandson came to visit on Sunday. We had scrambled eggs, bacon, apple juice, and homemade cheddar biscuits for breakfast. It was so good to see them.

I have been using the treadmill and recumbent bike every day for exercise.

My subscribe and save order came last weekend. They kept telling me that the Hubby’s Green Mountain Decaf K cups were out of stock. They said they would notify me if they got them back in. They never did so I wasn’t expecting them to show up. As you can see, they did. The panty hose are for a project. I bought the cheapest ones I could find. They are fine for what I need them for. The Gatorade both liquid and powdered are for my stockpile. West loves the sugar free Ice Breakers so they are a treat once in a while for him.

I paid $7.78 for 12 cans of spaghetti sauce that I use as a base for my homemade sauce or $.65 a can. I paid $ 1.29 per can for 12 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle soup. Both deals were a phenomenal price for me.  My entire order came to $92.40 which comes out of my stockpile budget.

We have been cooking enough for two days each time we cook to save both time and energy.

The SUV needed a bath so I washed it in the driveway using the pressure washer. I also cleaned the windows and inside. I do not pay for car washes in the nice weather. 

What have you done the past couple of weeks frugally?

Every Day

How I Protect My Food

When you stockpile, you should make sure that you are protecting your food. If you can afford food grade 5 gallon BPA free buckets and gamma lids, I would get some. I also use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. I show you these at Amazon just so that you know what I am talking about. You may be able to buy them cheaper elsewhere.

I keep flour, sugar, rice and dry black beans in mine. First, I freeze the flour to take care of any bug eggs that may be in it when you buy it. I freeze it at least 24 hours. Then I food saver the bags of flour and sugar(don’t freeze this) and put them in one of my buckets. I may try to find a cheaper bucket at Lowes which isn’t food grade to transfer them into so that I can use this food grade one for another item. They are protected by food savering them but the bucket is to keep any mice out. I have never had a mouse but I spend good money on my food so I want to make sure it is protected in case a mouse does get into my basement. You could also put the bags in a rubbermaid container to protect them.

The rice and black beans are in large mylar bags with oxygen absorbers in the 5 gallon buckets.

If you can’t afford buckets, you can get smaller buckets from your market’s bakery. They get them in with frosting in them. I have asked for them and they have given them to me for free. But these don’t hold as much food. I use a small one to hold my ramen. Just have to put the cover on and put it on the shelf.

I have a few more ways I protect my food but that is a post for another day.

Do you make sure to protect your food while stockpiling? What do you do? Please share so that we can all benefit from your advice.

Every Day

Shortages Coming

I am feeling a bit better today. I should be back permanently on Monday.

That said I had to quickly post about the shortages that are being seen in our food supply. I found out from a good online friend last night that there are shortages of certain items in our supply chain. This friend I would trust with my life. If they say there are shortages coming, I believe them because they have never been wrong on this type of thing. 

I also verified it with my store manager this morning.
Coke and Pepsi have put out press releases that they are having trouble getting aluminum cans. Here is one of the articles. This will affect canned items and beer. In case you haven’t noticed aluminum foil has really skyrocketed in price.

Flour, pasta, canned soups, other canned products like veggies and fruits that come in aluminum cans, dry beans, and rice are also in short supply. I noticed a sign when I shopped this morning that sugar is also in short supply. My store had a sign limiting it to 1. That makes sense because of the poor sugar beet crops. Flour, pasta, dry beans and rice is most likely because people are stockpiling for the spring and winter not knowing if we will have another bout of the illness.

I went shopping this morning at the crack of dawn and stocked up on some of these things. I also stocked on olives because of the poor crop in Italy. Hubby loves his olives. In this global economy that will affect our prices. I wanted more olive oil but it was so incredibly expensive that I wouldn’t pay the price. As much as I am not crazy about canola oil, I got two of those. At least I can use it multiple ways, in baking, frying and salad dressings.  Hubby loves his olives. The rest were things we needed for the cold winter here and the spring. I spent almost $174.00 from my stockpile money. 

So if you need any of the items in my pictures, I would strongly suggest you stock on them now. I expect that in a few days, you won’t even be able to find them. Many of my shelves of the shortage items I mentioned were getting very empty.

I hope you all have a great weekend! See you on Monday.


Every Day

I Have Not Been Feeling Well The Past Few Days

I have not been feeling well the last couple of days. So I am planning on taking a break from blogging for a while.

Take care of yourselves.

Every Day

Frugal Things This Week

We have been busy accomplishing some frugal things the past couple of weeks.

The stockpiling continues for the fall and winter. I am doing it early while I can get out. If the numbers in just one area of our state due to the sickness go up, our governor will close things down in the state again. I want to make sure that we are as prepared for the second wave as we were for the first. If we don’t get a second wave, we will be prepared as we always are for the winter.

Hubby sent for a $5.00 rebate on our new Water Pik. The last one broke after 4 years. Hubby called them to see if it was under warranty. It was not but they did send him the rebate form. The rebate came quickly yesterday. 

I purchased two face masks for me and two for Hubby from Vera Bradley. We love them because they give the best coverage I have seen in cotton masks. They also allow you to breathe. Mine were a pretty flower pattern and Hubby’s were a solid black. They are washable and dry quickly overnight. This has allowed us to keep the disposable ones in our stockpile in case of emergencies or to only use while the cloth ones are drying. No need to buy any more disposables which cost a pretty penny.

In my quest to replace disposables for items that I can use over and over again, I purchased these two cloth mop heads for my Swiffer which I can use for quick cleanups on the tile floors in the bathrooms. No need to ever again purchase disposable wet ones.

Along with the mop heads came this beautiful Thank You note from the family run business who made them. I bought them through Amazon. They are out of stock right now but hopefully will get more stock back in if any of you are interested.

Yesterday, I pulled every piece of meat, fish, seafood, veggies, fruit, etc. out of my chest freezer. When Hubby and my son emptied it a couple of weeks ago to move it, things got put back with no organization. The oldest items that were on top ended up on the bottom. It is now in some semblance of order with the old products on top so that I can use them first.

The only exception are the turkeys. They are on the bottom of the freezer. I have two left that I purchased last Thanksgiving. They are twenty pounders so they will be good to roast this coming Thanksgiving.  It’s too hot to roast them right now anyhow. With meat and produce prices going up, we may not see cheap turkeys this year at Thanksgiving. If prices go up, I am prepared to cook for our family. 

Hubby has been keeping the A/C at 75 degrees. It is not as comfortable as I am used to(72) but it should help with our electricity bill. My body seems to be getting used to it. I expect the bill will be high because of the 80 and 90 degree temps that we have been experiencing the past two weeks. The weather people are saying we have a few more days of this before the temps go down. 

While I was away, Hubby finished picking all of the pie cherries from our tree. Then he froze them on a sheet pan and put them in a ziploc in the freezer. We will definitely have some cherry pies this Fall. 

Hubby has the sprinkler system set to water in the morning every other day. The water bill will be high but we won’t lose the lawn, trees, bushes, and flowers in this heat. He has been keeping the hanging baskets well watered every day.

I am back to working out on the treadmill and bike every day. While I was spending time with Alexa, my exercise did not get done and my body was feeling it. I am also religiously following my diet. The diet went off the rails while I was spending time with family. One thing I have learned is that my body does not like carbs. UGH!

We were in need of a dozen white lined paper pads, some erasers to put on pencils and some pens. Fortunately, Staples was having a back to school sale online, so I got a great sale price on all of these things along with free shipping. I was also able to apply reward points to help pay for my order.

My daughter in law took home all of my frugality books among some other ones. I am happy that she will enjoy them. I also gave her clothing that she could use. Some that she couldn’t, I have donated this week to Salvation Army.   

I returned all of the bottles and cans that had collected since February to Fast Cash. I was happy to see they were open again and that there was no long line.  It added up to $12.45 in cash.

I filled the SUV and lawn mower can up with gasoline on Monday getting $.30 off a gallon using my Top’s reward points. So I only paid $1.859 a gallon. 

I earned another $ 15.46 in Amazon Reward cash to use on any necessities that we need. 

Hubby needed a new hose to be able to water the hanging baskets,  flower pots on our deck, and wash the car that our 25 ft. hose doesn’t easily reach. Our hoses are worn out after the past ten years. He saw this one that is 50 ft. long and highly rated on QVC for $ 44.99 plus $5.50 shipping. He asked me to order it. I researched to see if I could get a better price. I ended up ordering the very same hose at  Amazon for $ 29.32 and free shipping with my Prime. If you are a QVC shopper, always check the prices elsewhere before ordering with them. I find that 90% of the time someone else is cheaper than them.  This little bit of research saved us $ 21.17. 

I washed all the sheets, towels, and laundry using cold water, sale detergent, and sale laundry sanitizer the day my family left to go home. I dried the sheets and towels in my dryer using the wool balls. Our laundry I hung to dry. 

My son gave us a cucumber he picked fresh from his garden when he came out last Friday. We used it this week and it was delicious. 

I continue to stockpile water by filling up Hubby’s Diet Coke empty 2 liter bottles with tap water.

What have you don frugally the past couple of weeks?